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9 Annoying Things Coworkers Do… And How to Stop Them

It’s hard enough working with people, worse when they are annoying. Try these tools for making the workplace better.

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BY Kevin Daum - 08 Dec 2017

9 Annoying Things Coworkers Do... And How to Stop Them

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Sure, nobody is perfect. But some people have little consideration for others in the workplace. You know who they are. But do you know if you're one of them? And do you actually know how to stop them or yourself from being annoying?

Consider this both a test and an advisory. Taking the action suggested below may not get annoying people to be perfect, but it might help them suck less.

1. They Show Up Late to Every Meeting

You know the drill. Everyone is waiting for that one person who always has a crisis or customer problem, or personal issue. It never occurs to them that other people's time is valuable as well.

Remedy: Help the offender connect time with money. Get everyone to agree that a meeting will start on time, or the offenders must put $1 per minute into a company pool. The pool can be used for office parties or social occasions.

2. They Use Their Cell Phone on Speaker in Public

Earphones were created for a reason. It's not difficult to hold a phone to your ear, and yet people feel the need to stare at their phone and share their conversation with the world.

Remedy: Help the offender be aware of their surroundings. Repeat a possibly private line in the conversation to the offender, kindly saying, "You probably didn't want me to hear that. You might want to keep it private."

3. They Only Respond to the First Line of Emails

It's not that hard to read an email all the way through. But too often, people answer the question in the first line of the email, and skip the rest. They miss basic information, additional questions, and critical instructions.

Remedy: Help the offender realize the importance of a thorough reading. Save your questions for the end of the email, or number each question and indicate the total at the top of the email.

4. They Often Leave You Hanging

Offices don't function properly if colleagues don't respect each other's work. Part of that respect is responding promptly to requests from coworkers. Your coworkers know how busy you are, and delayed responses could be seen as a deliberate sabotage.

Remedy: Help the offender see the impact their negligence has on others. The next time they make a request of you, ask when it must be completed. Mention that you can't do it right away because you're behind as a result of their tardiness on a prior project.

5. They Constantly Text in Meetings

Nothing can get done in a meeting if everyone's noses are buried in their phones. And when one person is attending their phone instead of being present in the meeting, the whole group can get distracted and annoyed.

Remedy: Help the offender realize how their distraction is also distracting everyone else. The next time they're focusing on their phone in a meeting, either ask them to put it away for the remainder of the meeting as a sign of respect for their colleagues, or ask whether the message is more critical than what's happening in the meeting.

6. They Continuously Defend Their Credibility

No one has time to listen to someone constantly defend themselves against any potential slight. Successful employees let their work speak for itself, instead of wasting everyone else's time explaining why their work is adequate.

Remedy: Help the offender realize that everyone else is working just as hard. When they begin a soliloquy, tell them outright that they don't need to defend themselves, but rather should simply share the information necessary and move on so everyone can save time.

7. They Always Have Excuses

You know the saying about excuses and armpits. It's a clich because it's true. Instead of finding a justification for why your work isn't ready, spend that time completing your task. Even if you don't finish, at least you'll have something to show for it.

Remedy: Help the offender recognize that constant excuses are unacceptable. The next time they try to deliver one, tell them you just need to know when it will be done, not an excuse for why it's not done now.

8. They Regularly Leave Out Details

The devil is always in the details. If a coworker doesn't share adequate information, everyone loses. It makes it harder to understand the status of a project and makes it harder to help if necessary. Also, keeping information to yourself could be seen as a way of trying to take all the credit for a project.

Remedy: Help the offender get in the habit of sharing. Ask them for a full rundown of detail, or ask them if there's anything else you need to know about a situation. Make it clear that your performance based on these details will impact how his work is perceived.

9. They Rarely Tell You the Truth

Whether by commission or omission, lies in the workplace are counterproductive for everyone. Coworkers must be able to trust each other in order to collaborate and complete projects.

Remedy: Help the offender realize the pain they are causing for themselves by lying. The next time you know you're being lied to, immediately ask if that's the truth, and explain the negative consequences for them that could result from a false answer.

 

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